The Smoking Ban - A Guide to Stop Smoking

What is the ‘smoking ban?’ This was a new law, introduced on the 1 July 2007 which designated almost all public spaces and workplaces ‘smoke free’. (Source:

The reason for this is to ensure a healthier and smoke free environment which reduces the risk of passive smoking.

Note that it refers to ‘almost all’ public spaces: there are a few exceptions to this rule which is discussed in greater detail in our Exemptions to the Smoking Ban section.

The issue of passive smoking is a controversial one but evidence shows a link between second hand smoke and health problems such as heart disease and cancer. And these effects are even worse for children.

So the aim was to have public spaces where people can meet, talk, eat, shop and generally relax without the worry of passive smoking.

It basically means that it is against the law for anyone to smoke in the following places:

  • Cafes and restaurants
  • Shopping malls
  • Pubs, bars and nightclubs
  • Membership clubs
  • Public transport

There is a legal requirement to display no smoking signs on public transport and in public areas.

Local councils and businesses are working in conjunction to enforce this ban. This may mean an on the spot fine for anyone caught smoking in a no-smoking area or penalties for a business which fails to comply with this law. This can include a failure to stop people smoking in a designated smoke free area or not displaying no smoking signage.

Another aspect is that of a no-smoking policy. Businesses and companies can produce a written no smoking policy which is handed to its employees. This needs to be easy to understand, objective and with nor room for subjective interpretation. It needs to set out clearly the aims for a smoke free environment and how this will be enforced.

For example, stating which areas are ‘non smoking’ but taking the needs of smokers into account as well. This may point to a space outside the workplace which smokers can use.

The result of this is the sight of small groups of smokers huddled together in the doorways of offices.

Some companies may designate a space outside for smoking but others will leave that up to the smokers themselves. This means that they continue to stand outside the office to have a smoke or think about stopping smoking altogether.

There are groups of people who are unhappy with this ban and see it is as both discriminatory and an infringement of their human rights. They argue that adults have the right to make their own decisions about smoking and that they should have the freedom to do so. They also counter the arguments put forward by the passive smoking lobby by stating that there is insufficient evidence of a risk of heart disease and cancer from passive smoking.

These arguments will continue but the ban still stands.

If you are a smoker but have decided to give up then have a look at our Stopping Smoking section. This contains plenty of easy to understand information about doing so and the tools available for this purpose.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved